AG Garland Restores Judges’ Discretion to Manage an Overburdened Docket

July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Merrick Garland today restored immigration judges’ ability to administratively close deportation cases.

Garland issued a decision overruling former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ ruling denying immigration judges’ use of administrative closure, a docket management tool used to temporarily suspend deportation proceedings. The docketing tool allows judges to take cases off the court’s active docket and allow for completion of related proceedings that will impact the outcome of the individual’s removal proceeding, or the use of prosecutorial discretion by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The following statement is from Kate Melloy Goettel, legal director of litigation at the American Immigration Council:

“We are thrilled by today’s common-sense decision that restores discretion to immigration judges to close cases that do not need to proceed. The decision will not only benefit individuals in immigration proceedings, but it will help make the whole immigration system function much more smoothly, allowing the courts to prioritize and de-prioritize cases in order to manage a monumental backlog. The use of this docketing tool will also have a profound impact on individuals with petitions pending before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and those who seek to undo collateral criminal convictions.”


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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